“You’re the spitting image of your dad…”
Some might take this as a compliment, others… not so much.
The Bible tells us that God made us in his image. What does that even mean? I got it. It means we look like God, right? Wrong. As with all important matters in the Bible, it’s good to look at what it has to say for itself. [You] have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him (Colossians 3:10). Okay, this passage says the image of God has something to do with the new man and knowledge. And that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). This one says the new man is created in true righteousness and holiness. So let’s put all this together…the image of God has something to do with the new man and with knowledge, and the new man is something created in true righteousness and holiness. We can boil it down to this: Saying that we were made in the image of God must mean that we were made as holy beings with a perfect knowledge of God’s will.
- If the “image” of God doesn’t mean “looking like God,” what does it mean?
So what happened? The two who were created in God’s image (Adam and Eve) rebelled against their Creator and that once-holy image got messy – the perfect knowledge got muddy. Man was no longer perfect and no longer had a clear knowledge of God’s will. But God worked diligently to restore his image in man by sending his Son to live according the image of God and to give us this image again through his death on the cross.
- After the fall into sin, the Bible says that Adam “fathered a son in his own likeness, after his own image” (Genesis 5:3). Describe what being fathered in Adam’s image looks like.
In baptism, God restored you as a child in his image. He has clothed you with the perfection of Christ (Galatians 3:27). Through studying God’ s Word, the new man grows in the knowledge of God, and this isn’t just in a greater knowledge of his law, but also growing especially in a greater knowledge of his grace.
- We can’t help but think of “looks” when we hear the word “image.” What does the life of the child of God look like?
So how come I’m not perfect now? Even though you have the new man, you also still have your sinful flesh, which clings to you. When you were a kid, did you ever take for granted that your parents had money? Did you ever have a fit in the middle of the grocery store if your mom didn’t buy you a toy? Do you still have those fits today? Maybe so – but you’re growing. You’re growing to know that your parents work very hard to buy you what you need. And as you grow, you learn to thank them for all they have done and continue to do for you.
- Paul described fruits of faith (the fruit of the spirit) as “love, joy, peace, patience,” etc. Fruit bearing trees tend to grow slowly. Look back at times from your childhood when you acted like a kid throwing a ﬁt in a store. What fruit do you see growing?
As we grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus, we grow in the image of God. This happens as we are encouraged by the Holy Spirit through his Word not to say, “Gimme more of that grace so I can sin more,” but instead to live our lives in thanks to God for restoring His image in us though Christ.
- God uses water and light to make plants and trees grow. Being remade in his image, what does he use to grow your faith and maintain the way you now look?
Prayer: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” Amen.
Rev. Matthew Moldstad
Peace Lutheran Church
North Mankato, MN